In case you missed it yesterday, Taylor Batten of the Charlotte Observer authored a damning article about Gov. McCrory’s sudden reversal of course on Syrian refugees that took place on — what a surprise!– the same day several other Republican governors decided to stoke public fears about immigrants and attack the Obama administration.
As Batten points out, the McCrory administration was quite calm about the matter last Friday in response to a question about the refugees:
“’Prior to being given refugee status, an extensive security screening is conducted on each individual’ by the U.S. Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies, McCrory’s office replied.”
Seventy-two hours later, however, the tune had changed:
“At a press conference in Charlotte on Monday, however, McCrory said the state has little knowledge of what those background checks entail and that they have “vulnerabilities.” Because of that, McCrory said, Syrian refugees are not welcome in this state.
McCrory joins at least eight other GOP governors who on Sunday and Monday said they would not willingly accept refugees until the federal government tightened its vetting to ensure terrorists are not admitted.
‘I am now requesting that the president and the federal government cease sending refugees from Syria to North Carolina until we are thoroughly satisfied with the effectiveness of the federal background checks and security checks on such refugees entering our country,’ McCrory said at a press conference in Charlotte.”
The bottom line: McCrory’s flip flop clearly smacks of partisan political fear mongering. As Batten points out, if the administration has genuine and specific concerns about the federal oversight of refugees, then it ought to speak up and articulate them right away. At yesterday’s press conference, however, McCrory couldn’t do anything other than offer vague criticisms that sounded suspiciously as if they had been designed to appeal to nativists in his conservative base.
The truth of the matter is that people don’t get to enter the United States as “refugees” until they’ve been thoroughly vetted by federal immigration officials. McCrory knows this. And the notion that the the feds should somehow stop accepting genuine refugees and/or set up some kind of system in which state law enforcement officials would monitor these poor souls (as McCrory implied) is as mean-spirited as it is wasteful and just plain silly.
Let’s hope caring and thinking North Carolinians of all political stripes speak up forcefully and often in the days ahead to make clear that their Governor does not speak for them on this core issue of justice and human rights.
Click here to read Batten’s entire article.